A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection of the urinary system, which consists of the kidneys, ureter, bladder, and urethra. Urinary tract infections are one of the most common causes of doctor visits, especially for women.
These are more referred to as Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), and are the most common medical complaint among women in their reproductive years. UTIs have been reported to be 25 times far more common among women than among men. Most women will develop a UTI at some time in their lives, and many will have recurrences.
In general, the higher risk in women is mostly due to the shortness of the female urethra from the rectum, which is 1.5 inches compared to 8 inches in men. Bacteria from fecal matter at the anal opening can be easily transferred to the opening of the urethra.
There are several types of UTI, the most common being a bladder infection (cystitis). Urinary tract infections can also involve the ureters and kidneys; these infections are more difficult to treat. The most commonly seen UTIs are cystitis and kidney infections (pyelonephritis), with cystitis being 18 times more common.
Bacteria are the most common cause of UTIs. In 85% of cases, the bacteria responsible for UTIs originate in one’s own intestine or vagina. Vaginal bacteria, for example, may be introduced from condoms, or from the act of intercourse, which can push bacteria from outside the urinary system up into the urethra.
While the bladder flushes out the majority of these bacteria during urination, sometimes bacteria can remain, leading to an infection. The most common bacterium to cause UTI is Escherichia coli. Other bacteria that can cause this infection include Proteus, Klebsiella, and Staphylococcus saprophyticus.
There are preventive and curative measures to help flush bacteria of the urinary tract that have proven themselves over time. They are:-
1. Water Consumption – One may ask, why much water drinking? It flushes the bladder out, preventing residual urine from becoming a breeding ground for the bacteria that cause infection.
2. Drinking Cranberry Juice – According to Varro E. Tyler Ph.D., author of “The Honest Herbal”, recommends drinking 3 ounces of cranberry juice daily as a preventive and upping that amount to between 12 and 32 ounces if infection occurs.
3. Add Some Baking Soda to Drinking Water – Mixing a teaspoonful of baking soda in a glass of water and then drink the contents once a day for three days. It has been reported to relieve the burning sensation in bladder quickly. Kristene E. Whitmore, M.D., co-author of “Overcoming Bladder Disorders” recommends drinking 16 ounces of water and then 4 ounces of water with a tablespoonful of baking soda mixed in. Then 8 ounces of plain water every hour for the next 8 hours.
Note: It’s best to avoid taking baking soda after a large meal. In a few rare cases, people have suffered stomach rupture by taking baking soda when their stomachs were overfull.
4. Relief from Herbs – It’s suggested by Andrew Weil, M.D., in his book “Natural Health, Natural Medicine” to drink tea brewed from the dark green leaves of the Prince’s Pine plant (Chimaphila umbellata) and Uva Ursi plant (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) to prevent bladder infections. To promote bladder healing, use two capsules of dried Uva Ursi extract 3 times a day or one dropperful of tincture in a cup of warm water. To be taken 3 times a day and continued till symptoms disappear. It can be taken severally for extended periods to cure weak kidneys.
5. Give Vitamin C – Experts say about 1000 milligrams of vitamin C taken throughout the day will acidify the urine enough to interfere with bacterial growth, particularly in those with recurrent bladder infections.
Note: The Recommended Daily Value of vitamin C is 60 milligrams – less than what you’d get if you ate a single orange. Too much vitamin C is known to cause diarrhea in some, but researchers say you can safely take up to 1000 milligrams a day long term and up to 1500 milligrams a day for up to two months. But it’s best to take it over the course of a day. If larger doses cause cramping or diarrhea, cut back on the amount you’re taking.
6. Grab for Garlic – Experts say garlic’s antibiotic properties have been confirmed in dozen’s of studies. Among its proven uses: killing the bacteria of women’s bladder infections.
7. Getting a Little Culture (Yogurts) – Though eating massive amounts of yogurts won’t cure a bladder infection, but it could prevent one, says Dr. Whitmore. In a study of women with a history of recurrent vaginal infections, a daily cup of yogurt reduced the incidence of vaginitis threefold. Fewer vaginal infections means fewer bladder infections. Doctors theorize that acidophilus, the friendly bacteria in yogurt, somehow prevent unfriendly bacteria from staying put. So look for yogurts that have active cultures, or consider acidophilus supplements.
8. The Cleaner, the Better – Yes, I know that being a clean freak is quite far-fetched giving the poor environmental status we live in. But, careful attention to hygiene can aid in reducing the frequency of bladder infections, especially in the ladies. Using inappropriate cleaning techniques after going to the bathroom can also cause bladder infections. Women should wipe themselves from the front to the back, says Dr. Thornton. “You want to take the tissue from a sterile area, which is the bladder, to the least sterile area, which is the rectum” She explains. Other techniques include: urinating before and immediately after sex, leaning slightly forward when urinating, and changing immediately out of a wet swimsuit. Stay Healthy!